Squealing Reviews for BarBacon
A mother with a newborn, a middle-aged banker, and a bright-eyed, young professional do not have much in common, but on any given evening, they can all be seen in a “symbiotic circle” consuming an American classic: bacon.
Somewhere between the dive bar on the corner and the white table cloth dining room, Peter Sherman found his niche. With a full bar and various images of pigs surrounding them, customers buzz with their hog highs.
“I don’t cater to any single one of those groups. I cater just to my brand, and my brand allows me to be appealing to all of them at the same time,” Sherman said. “That has really been the cornerstone of my success.”
BarBacon opened its Hell’s Kitchen, 836 9th Ave, location at the end of 2013 and was paying for itself within the first month, but Sherman said he was happy he could focus on working because he had so much to learn about owning a business.
“All-around, it’s a five-star restaurant,” said Melissa Nichols, a customer. “This is one of my favorite restaurants and where I’ll request to have my birthday dinner. I’m just a big bacon person.”
Sherman worked as a fine-dining chef for 10 to 15 years alongside top chefs from countries like France and Japan. His fellow chefs each brought their own country’s cuisine or food staple, but he wondered what America brought to the culinary table. He landed on bacon and began working to open a bacon-centered restaurant.
From bacon cocktails to a bacon slab cooked like brisket, this menu may clog some arteries, but it definitely does not make for a boring diet.
“There are more ways to experience something that you already know you love, than in the same, monotonous way that you’ve experienced your whole life, and that is what interested me,” Sherman said. “It’s a nostalgia that I’m working in.”
Sherman has let his product drive his business. He admits that early on, like many successful chefs, he wanted to own a restaurant to showcase his “pedigree,” but he realized an entire niche-market of foods was evolving and people needed to evolve along with it. With a food-forward concept, Sherman “lives and dies” on one product, and many outside forces steer that, like the weather, political environment or the novelty of it all.
“It’s amazing what I know about the world based upon what my prices of food are,” Sherman said.
Over BarBacon’s five years, the pork market has fluctuated quite a bit with China buying a major pork distributor, creating a bacon drought, to the U.S. cutting off trade with China and having an influx of unexported pork.
In addition to the events of the world trickling into BarBacon’s production process, this is the first restaurant Sherman has owned and operated. He said the biggest challenge to get the restaurant off the ground was that 80 percent of the decisions he needed to make were first-time decisions and he had an entire staff he was responsible for.
Amidst this niche-market, Sherman said he believes the idea was so successful because there were not any direct competitors to its innovative dining option.
BarBacon opened a second location in Union Square in September of 2018 with partner and owner of Bayan Consulting Jean Marie Philippou.
“Out of all the celebrity chefs I work with, this was the concept that I thought was incredibly special and could literally be in every state and college town,” Philippou said. “This place has everything to turn into a national brand.”
With the quick growth and success of the restaurant, BarBacon’s market is continually expanding. This year, the restaurant is launching its first cookbook. And, Sherman hopes to have two to five more locations in the next five years, and his first international location in the next 10 years.
“I think the first five years of my existence has set a foundation that allows me to believe that this is something that could live anywhere,” Sherman said. “It’s just a matter of finding the right opportunities that would be able to support it.”
Sherman said he is appreciative of his years working in the kitchen, but he gets excited for the new adventures and challenges being an owner holds every day.
“I like that I have evolved into my industry in a way that I never could have done if I was isolated just to the kitchen. That kind of drives me every day,” Sherman said. “I get driven every day just by having a responsibility load toward so many people that make me want to be the best version of myself every day.”